These are the words of Jesus recorded in the last verse of our chapter 9 in Luke’s gospel. We are immediately provoked into asking – what is it to “look back”? The answer is contained in the examples of “looking back” Jesus gives in the previous 5 verses – after “someone said to him, I will follow you wherever you go.” [v.57] This is not a really surprising thing to say! Imagine tagging in along with his 12 disciples; what remarkable happenings one would witness – as a spectator!
It is obvious from the examples given – that following Jesus requires total commitment – and, at least at times, physical discomfort for “the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” [v.58] Excuses start to multiply – reasons to delay the commencement of following him. But Jesus says, no delay, no time for a grand farewell to family members – even if your father is dying!
“But as for you” declares Jesus, “go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” [v.60] And what a message to proclaim!
There is self-denial involved, back in v.23 we read, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.”
What comes first in our lives today? Again, the answer involves a recognition of the broad or the narrow way! Jesus asks ([v.25] “what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?” He then adds the challenging words, “whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory …” [v.26]
And how close are we now to that wondrous time! But those who have “looked back” – as the wife of Lot did will find that “the door is shut” – that their priorities in life, as the all seeing eye of their Lord perceives, means he judges them as being “one who … is not fit for the kingdom.”